The Karate Kid (Blu-Ray)
July 21, 2010
In a decision fuelled in some small part no doubt by the 2010 remake with Jackie Chan and Will Smith’s son Jaden, the original Karate Kid (starring a much older than he looks Ralph Macchio, and an about the right age Pat Morita, gets its first release on Blu-Ray.
The Karate Kid was originally released in a digital format back in 2003, on a Trilogy DVD set crammed with special features, but sadly this Blu-Ray, by comparison, is rather sparse. For example, the great ‘catch the fly with the chopsticks’ DVD game that provided literally minutes worth of entertainment for me all those years ago is now absent. However, with the Karate Kid it’s not about special features, nor is it about quality Blu-Ray high definition (which is lucky, because the picture on this Blu-Ray looks no better than the DVD) – no, Karate Kid is about reliving your childhood, learning karate, performing general maintenance on an old man’s house and listening to truly awful 80s music.
The first thing that struck me about the Karate Kid, after all these years, is what a truly whining character Daniel LaRusso (Macchio) really is. He’s moody, immature, mistrusting and not particularly eloquent when he speaks to Ali with an ‘I’ (Elisabeth Shue). So much so that you can’t quite fathom what her character is supposed to see in him at all.
His temper is such that he even shouts at Mr Miyagi on several occasions, making you again wonder why the elderly karate expert would have anything to do with this precocious Italian American from New Jersey.
All of that aside (and it is difficult) the film sure is entertaining. LaRusso moves with his mother from New Jersey to the West Coast of America, where he instantly makes friends and spies a potential new girlfriend who, for some inexplicable reason, seems attracted to him. All would be great if it weren’t for ‘Johnny’ (William Zabka), Ali’s ex boyfriend and resident karate champion, who is intent on persecuting Daniel for daring to make eyes at his ex-girlfriend.
Johnny and his gang of karate experts pick on Daniel at every opportunity (and let’s be honest, most of time it was justified) until Mr Miyagi promises to teach him the ways of karate so that he can face Johnny in a tournament.
All very simple so far, and that’s about it. You know how it’s going to end simply by looking at the poster, but the manner in which Karate Kid plays out makes you love the film more and more with every viewing. Maybe it’s the music, which is more unashamedly 80s than the music for Rocky IV, maybe it’s the fact that when they play football (soccer to our American readers) they chase the ball around in groups in a manner that even five-year-olds in the UK know not to do, or maybe it’s just the way that Daniel learns karate by performing menial household chores, such as painting fences and sanding floors.
There’s something about Karate Kid that you just can’t quantify, and that’s what makes it a cinematic classic, and a film that guarantees that children of all ages, and adults who remember it first time round, will love it still.